When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
Luther once said that he wished that he could pray like his dog watched him eat sausage. If you have ever had a dog, you know what me means and can imagine Dr. Luther’s dog transfixed by the Reformer as he ate his bratwurst. Luther wanted that intensity and single-minded devotion which his dog had as he watched the piece of sausage ascend from the plate to Luther’s mouth.
Have you ever thought about your prayer life? Luther said that he could not accomplish anything without spending a couple hours in prayer. I have always found that to be a devastating comment. I sometimes cannot muster up more than a few minutes in prayer. I could so much better. I compare myself to Luther and find myself lacking. But he compared himself to his own dog and found himself lacking. What does that say about me?!
Good news for me and you today. Jesus prays for us with an intensity and single-mindedness which exceeds even that of Luther’s dog or any saint. The truth be told, even in my best moments I am still beset by sin. As Paul says that old man clings tightly to me. I cannot shake him. Only Christ has won that battle. But John 17 tells us something about Jesus. Having conquered sin, death, and devil, Jesus prays for us. He beseeches the Father on our behalf.
This is not an excuse for a pallid prayer-life. Rather it is an invitation to a robust life of prayer and service. Jesus is praying today. You can rest assured that He will pray all that you need prayed. But that opens your heart to pray for what you feel and know. You no longer need to worry about covering all the bases or meeting some prayer minimum. Christ has prayed the maximum for you. Now God’s heart and his very being stand wide open to you and your prayer. Jesus has opened that door and fulfilled that mission. Now you can pray and be sure that God loves what he hears, even when they are the faltering, too-infrequent, or simple prayers of the prayer-novice. Say a prayer today. God wants to hear from you.